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Animal-human conflict tolls Ngezi

Animal-human conflict tolls Ngezi

The Mhondoro ngezi area has the highest number of animal-human conflict cases recorded in the first quarter, and the residents are crying foul over it.

Several villagers are living in fear as their livelihoods are at risk with the increased cases of human-animal conflict in the area.

People are crying foul over the alleged negligence displayed by park officers following the killing of people and animals in the river by crocodiles.

Villagers allege that the park officers reluctantly freed the reptiles that spread in the river, putting people and their livestock at risk.

Each year, people are killed by crocodiles, and this year the area recorded the highest number of cases in the first quarter, according to reports by parks and wildlife.

Hardly a week passes without a report of animals, especially cows and donkeys, being attacked by crocodiles.

Villagers are apportioning blame on park officers, who manage the park and seem reluctant to guard the animals and control their population.

Talim Mabese said they are living in fear because it is now dangerous to leave our livestock alone, especially the kids who used to swim in the river banks, as the village waters are crocodile-infested.

One headman who refused to be named said, “Always tame them and drive them to only the crocodile’s infested water source, the Ngezi River, which is nearby.” We now fear for our livestock as we lose them on a weekly basis.

He also fears for schoolchildren who cross the river to a nearby school, and two were recently killed by the crocodiles. Besides the fact that the facts are demotivating to school-going children, we are putting them in danger.

He said children have a tendency to play in water, thus risking their lives. “Two weeks ago, a Form Three student was mauled by the angry and hungry reptiles. He was crossing the river to visit his relatives on the other side of the river. A number of livestock are killed almost every week, much to the disgust of the villagers,” he explained.

Petronela Lausi lost two donkeys at once to the crocodiles. The donkeys were tied together when a crocodile attacked and pulled down one of them; the other one was also pulled into the waters, leading to both of them dying.

Villagers are angered by the response of Parks’ officers, explained Lausi, as they continue to lose their wealth, yet they will get arrested if they kill the reptiles.

These animal-human conflicts had made relationships sour between parks and the villagers, as the villagers are disadvantaged and are always in conflict with the officers.

What angers villagers most is that the park officials do not want people to kill the crocodiles when under attack but to call for a reactionary team from the wildlife authority.

In one village, 15 people were almost in for it last year after they killed a crocodile that had attacked their fellow villager in the river, killing him instantly.

His remains were retrieved from the river and buried later. “Graduate Majuru was nearly arrested when he reported a crocodile attack. He was poaching fish in Ngezi Dam with his crew when one of the crew members was mauled by the crocodiles,” he explains.

Each year, human lives and livestock are lost due to these conflicts.

One expert said parks should find ready markets for exporting these crocodiles as overpopulation will lead to increased human and livestock deaths as the crocodiles starve.

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